There are opportunities throughout the writing process for humans to partner with AI. Here’s how to think about that division of labor.
Today, and certainly for the foreseeable future, more and more attorneys, law firms, and companies serving the legal industry will explore how artificial intelligence tools can help them create marketing and business development content, like blogs, articles, client alerts, and newsletters.
Using AI in the content creation process is not an all or nothing thing. It need not be an “all AI” or an “all human” proposition. There’s nuance here; AI could provide some assistance or it could handle the majority of the creation process for a piece of content. The question becomes how much of the process should fall on the shoulders of AI versus those of humans.
When you’re thinking about integrating AI in your content creation process, consider this four-part framework to guide you as you determine whether a human, an AI tool, or both will tackle the four main stages of the process.
First, where will the topic come from for a particular piece of content?
If we’re writing thought leadership content in which we’ll be talking about our firsthand experience or our opinions, that topic will come from our own minds. We won’t need AI’s help brainstorming a topic.
But if we’re looking to cover a topic that other organizations have covered but we haven’t and we think we should, such as questions clients might have about the area of law we practice, AI can be useful for generating potential topics regarding any subject matter we can think of so we’ll never be lacking topics to write about.
AI can also analyze vast amounts of data and identify topics that seem to be attracting eyeballs and clicks among our target audiences, guiding our content strategy so we can be sure we’re creating content that might be equally effective at bringing in relevant readers.
Next, where will the substance of the piece of content come from?
If we’re writing thought leadership content, the content is coming from our experience, opinions, etc. It is doubtful AI would play a role.
But if we need to compile information from the internet because we are covering a topic that has already been covered by other sources, like SEO content, or even if we are taking a slightly different angle toward such topics, we might be willing to rely on AI.
AI can significantly reduce the time and effort required to gather relevant information that will form the substance of a piece of content. It can cull in seconds relevant information that might take hours for a human to cull.
Unfortunately, this pillar is where attorneys and other professionals can get themselves in trouble. If they use AI without double checking the accuracy of what the AI is saying or without confirming that the AI did not plagiarize already-existing content, they can damage their credibility, mislead readers, and be staring down the barrel of potential legal liability.
Writing the content
Now that we have the substance, how will we write the content?
Naturally, a human can do it. Some people wouldn’t dare dream of letting AI assemble their thoughts on their behalf.
But for many others, staring at a blank page, even when armed with the substance they will be writing about, can be paralyzing. They just can’t get over the hump to start writing.
For that reason, many people will turn to AI to help them write. There are AI tools available that will “write” first drafts based on the text in a Word document or PDF you upload to it. Depending on its features, the tool might supplement the uploaded text and concepts with internet research it conducts on its own.
But just like with the second pillar, a writer might run into accuracy and plagiarism issues if they do not double check the substance of what the AI wrote.
A happy medium for people wishing to integrate AI into the content writing process is having an AI tool write a first draft, followed by the author closely reviewing the substance of the draft and tinkering with the style to make it less robotic and more consistent with the style they employ or that their organization employs.
Editing and polishing
Finally, how will we edit and polish the content?
AI tools like Grammarly and the spell check and grammar check built into our word processing programs have been around for a while and reliably make our written documents better. These tools can also help eliminate the use of jargon, passive voice, and other barriers to readability that writers unintentionally erect all too often.
A writer can handle the editing process themselves, ask a colleague to serve as an editor, or they can divide and conquer with AI’s assistance.
As with the preceding pillar, the most effective and efficient approach is likely a hybrid approach combining AI and human efforts.
For instance, an AI tool can perform the initial grammar and style check, followed by a human editor refining the content to ensure it aligns with their organization’s brand voice, meets applicable quality standards, and is coherent, engaging, and free from any other errors.
Finding the middle ground
Integrating AI into your content creation process can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your content marketing and thought leadership marketing efforts.
However, while AI can offer significant benefits, a writer’s human touch is unmatched (so far) in its ability to create content that resonates with the writer’s target audience and builds meaningful relationships. At this point in the development of AI writing tools, they struggle to calibrate content for target audiences as effectively as humans can.
The integration of AI into the content creation process should not be an all-or-nothing approach. Lawyers and their law firms should work to find the right balance of the human touch and AI resources, and leverage the best of both worlds to create high-quality, engaging, and valuable marketing and business development content.
Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create compelling thought-leadership marketing and business development content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.